The Business Journal emailed family businesses and asked them to share their family lore – often-told anecdotes, mottos, favorite sayings, advice or rules of thumb that are maintained and still relevant today.
Parents Gave Us Our Work Ethics
Home Carpet Co., Boardman
Home Carpet Co. dates its origin to 1979 when George Rohan started his retail flooring career. His wife, Gerri, joined in, and they will soon celebrate 45 years in business.
“We do not have one saying or motto to describe our business success. We were graced in learning work ethics by the example set by our parents. We are pleased our business will continue to thrive with our son, George Jr., holding the realm,” the Rohans say.
As family businesses go, so many members have passed through our doors before finding their way in their own careers. Family does not necessarily mean that you are all related. Family is the word given to all the special people that make our business thrive. You are only as good as the people that you surround yourself with.
Submitted by George and Geralyn Rohan.
‘Give the People What They Want’
Davis Motel, North Lima
The motto my father used when he ran the Davis Motel from 1960 to 1976 was “We doze but never close.” What the message means to me is the 24/7 commitment that one needs to put into a family business for it to be successful. Even when you’re not physically on premise, one must be thinking about ways to improve and modify the existing business model to stay profitable.
There is a song by The Kinks that is my personal inspiration: “Give the People What They Want.” The bottom line to be successful in any business is to satisfy the customer, and the profit will follow.
Being born into a small family business can be a highly emotional experience that can cause a great deal of stress. It’s hard to balance your personal happiness with your business success or failure.
Many small business owners want better for their children than to end up running their business because they understand that a higher education can lead to a professional career with all the perceived benefits. However, my experience has been that continuing Davis Motel, which is in its 63rd year, has been a privilege, and I would not have changed it for anything else.
Submitted by Murray Davis.
Take Pleasure in Everything You Do
M.P. Vivo Heating and Air Conditioning, Austintown
Michael Vivo launched M.P. Vivo Heating and Air Conditioning in 2008. The family business adheres to the principles Vivo learned as a child from his grandparents.
His son, Christopher, is taking on a bigger role with the company, now working in the service department as a technician. “I’m teaching him the ropes to eventually take over the business in the future,” Vivo says.
Vivo’s daughter, Hannah, is a teacher, but she pitches in during the busy summer months. His brother, David, is office manager and dispatches the service technicians.
Vivo is passing along to his children the life lessons he learned when he was young.
“I always preach to them to have the mindset to work hard and take pleasure in everything you do in life,” he says. “With that comes success, and I believe in keeping my perspective on success. Success is being right with your creator, friends and family, along with all our customers, and to always keep all three a priority.”
Submitted by Michael Vivo.